Removing/killing kikuyu

Hi all, Im after peoples experience in removing or killing off kikuyu - good, bad or other wise.

Ive quite a fewi friends in this area (far eastern Vic, near the coast) whos gardens are over run with it.

What methods have you used (apart from nukeing it !) to control it and have they been successful.

Eg: cardboard and heavy mulch, heavy mulch (or did it just make it grow more), constant digging it out, carpet, weed mat, black plastic (urk!), etc.


  • I found the only thing that worked was digging it out over and over again. Even poison wouldn't kill it, just one small bit of root and it will come back.

    Trying to smother it didn't work, it would just turn white and send out more runners.
  • i started a thread on this very topic some months ago, which may be worth looking at.

    black plastic didn't work. digging and heavy cardboard mulch was the only thing that worked and even then, it's a battle.

    good luck
  • Pigs love digging up kikuyu runners.
  • thank you bushy - will take a look.
  • g'day zandy,

    well for us the cut it down low and cover with newspaper, found cardboard can be deceptive in its appearance to be able to do the job, but use it on top the newspaper, and that is newspaper up to around 40 pages thick, works on nut grass. we then follow up wtih mulching ur agrdens to a depth of at least 6"s and up to 8"s around fruit trees whatever minimum 12"s.

    the cooch tries to grow past our mulched weed barriers but it is easily pulled. we have trouble getting volunteers to grow is the down side.

  • Zandy, Kikuyu can be a great grass but its invasive potential is a pain in the ringer. I got rid of a whole lot by covering with weed mat and heavy weights (sleeper off cuts, paving stones, bricks etc). You have to edge it first and make sure the weed mat is pushed down below the root zone. This contains the grass and stops it invading. I left it over summer with no water or fertiliser and found it solarised fairly well. After about three months I removed all the coverings and it was mighty stunted. I then dug it up and took it all to the tip. Its hard work but it has not grown back so far.

    In retrospect I think it is better to deep edge the area, cover with thick paper / cardboard and soil & mulch. Then leave it for as long as possible before planting anything to ensure it all dies. This creates a no-dig garden bed.

    The areas I did was for a veggie garden so any new growth is fairly easily dealt with by hand pulling. What use you have for the de-grassed area needs to be considered when determining what removal method you use.

    One thing I am trying at the moment is surrounding my sleeper walled veggie garden beds with pine needles at the base of the sleeper and covering with soil. As the kikuyu grows towards the sleeper I hope the pine oil helps slow its progress - time well tell.

    Good luck and the best advice I can give is dont rush it and be patient. Cheers porgey. :D

    PS, I have added this photo to show you the weed mat covering some Kikuyu lawn (middle right of photo) I got rid of. In this method I used weed mat covered with soil but found the extra work of removing the soil to remove the weed mat to remove the dead grass was difficult (but very effective) so us smaller weights on top of the weed mat as mentioned before. GR
  • Hi Zandy,

    I'm currently experimenting with using plants that suppress kikuyu (and other running grasses) from invading my vegie patch.

    Potatoes and Marigolds are great boarder plants for this!

    To get rid of the running grass in the first place, I hand-weed. Sounds time-consuming, but it's great therapy to get out there after a bit of rain (when the ground is soft - this time of year is brilliant for hand-weeding).

    I give the runners a bit of a solar dry on a wire frame (or, if I'm being lazy, I just dump them on the next patch I plan on weeding - it weakens and yellows the underlying grass within a couple of weeks), then I give them to my worms, who adore running grass stems. Eventually I might even be kinder to my worms and mulch the grass stems for them, but so far I haven't been bothered (just takes longer for them to break it down, but makes a terrific bedding for them while they are working on it).

    Here's a bit of good info from Jackie French:

    And ... something I learned just recently ... if you cover the ground with a thick layer of newspaper/cardboard (as mentioned above), then cover THAT with thick layer of wood chips ... the breaking down of the woodchips draws up the nitrogen (that the grass needs as it grows), so not only is the grass starved of light, but also robbed of vital nutrition.

    Cutting the roots with a spade, around the area that you are clearing, and banging in some old tin or similar, will help stop the roots getting back into your cleared area as well.

    But ... I'm a "lazy" gardener ...the potatoes seem to be doing the trick for me (the grass hasn't crept into the hay-mulch around them yet ... quite surprisingly effective. :D
  • Pigs love the stuff. If you can dig some up, (fence off stuff you wanna keep) and let a pig or two have a go.

    Good luck
  • Thanks for all the info guys - Im sure when I pass it on they will find it helpful, cheers :)
  • billbill Bremer Bay
    Iduna wrote:

    Even poison wouldn't kill it, just one small bit of root and it will come back.

    That is not right. Ki is one of the most susceptable plant to glyposate. I have sprayed a kikuyu lawn at 1000/1 mix (in the rain mind) and it died.... permanently. My theory was that the lawn was fairly dormant in winter while the flat weeds were growing flat out. So 1000/1 would spare the lawn but kill the flat weeds. HA!

    I know most people here hate glyposate but it is 100% sure kill the boss for kikuyu control. It is less effective for cooch and takes two applications to get a complete kill. I have never needed a second application to kill ki.
  • Just coming back to this thread with a quirky idea ... (borrowed from the weed-tea Biodynamic concept, that ... and my noticing and acknowledgement of just how much worms like running grass) ...

    I'm trialling mulching the runners of the grass from the previously cleared areas (with the necessary addition of woody bits in the mulching process so that the stringy bits of the grass don't ruin my mulcher :confused: ).

    And I'm taking THAT resulting mulch (hand-picking it a bit to remove complete stem segments) to apply as the mulch over the area I am going to clear (and convert to food production) next.

    This idea came about because the worms (that were almost non-existant when I first moved here) totally adore the grass, in any form (in the garden, as a bedding in the worm farm, and hopefully as a mulch ON the grass :tup: ), and because it ties in with utilizing the weed to eradicate the weed (such a COOL Biodynamic concept :D ).

    If nothing else, just adding the mulch should help ... those runners are SO much easier to remove whole, from a friable mulched top.

    Background: The very first vegetable bed I made here was a trial wicking bed, surrounded by bales of hay/pea straw ... the grass grew amazing into the bales as the bales rotted over time, but the runners were very easily removed as I went through each bale (after a year) to re-use them as a soil additive. And, because the grass was so happy in the mulch, it had very few serious runners left in the actual soil (the grass had left the original, exhausted, runners to rot in the soil!), so the conversion of grass to vegetable bed took just over a year, with two goes at interacting (one to add the mulch and soil, and one to remove the grass as I re-allocated the decomposing hay bales to other beds).

    I'm hoping the running grass/wood mulch will achieve the same, fast result as the original "mulch" of hay-bales did.

    I'll let you know how things progress in a year from now :lol:
  • Well I was going to start a thread with the same query and here are some answers already! As warned by another ALSer the chooks in my dome were not able to scratch deep enough to deal with the Ki runners. So guess which Old Chook is spending a couple of hours a day digging them up! And that's only the first site! Five to go. I am pulling out an amazing number and certainly not kidding myself I have them all. Not sure where all the chook poo will be by now but I guess it's still there somewhere.Have dug out bucketsful of rocks too so that has to be a plus.We have had a few mls of rain - enough to dampen the soil and the Ki runners are sprouting, so I'm thinking I might not plant up this bed yet, but wait and see what pops up in the next week or so. That could be encouraging or just the opposite! The upside is that the soil is gorgeous, so I guess Kikuyu likes the good stuff.
  • Just reread ma's post and realised I now have a use for my old rotting hay bales. I was going to put them in with the chooks on each dome site but fortunately read in time that mouldy hay can make the chooks very sick. I do have them undisturbed around the dome as part of my fox defences but they would probably be better not there either. Once the electric fence is up hopefully the fox defences won't have to be so extreme and I can put the bales at least around the perimeter of the first site.
  • Four months later and I am digging out the kikuyu on chook site five.The big effort on the first four has been proved very worthwhile, as was leaving the sites bare for a while to see what was resprouting. Very little kikuyu has regrown and can easily be removed. Invasion from the edges is something of a problem but not too bad if kept an eye on for removal of runners before they get a grip! A much bigger problem is heliotrope. I am digging it out after it resprouts after winter but there are thousands of seeds germinating on every site. I am scratching them up regularly with a rake but does anyone know how to control this weed which is harmful to the livers of livestock and chooks? DPI has done some trials with a beetle in this area and there are a few beetles around but not enough to make a real impact on the foliage.I'm guessing that the beetles only eat the foliage anyway because heliotrope is very deep and strong rooted.
  • Bumping this thread. There are some great ideas here. We have a massive kikuyu problem here. It's invading from all over. I've had some success making pathways around a garden area using newspaper topped with gum tree mulch, but I still have to battle the advances of the ki regularly. However, inside the gardens I had used the chook dome & then planted it out heavily with veg & mulched heavily with pea straw. It seems easier to pick out the small amounts that grow through.

    However, this last season the kikuyu has loved the wet summer & is absolutely rampant. We have about an acre of it that I want to get rid of. Is there anything I can mass plant into it that will take it over & knock it back?

    Ma, your biodynamic principle of using the weed to kill the weed fascinates me - how's that working for you?
  • I have to say I agree with Bill we had to spray our paths last weekend and in the past it is the only thing that kills it other than boiling water but on 4 acres I ain't filling that many kettles. I do pull it out of the veg garden though as we don't spray there. The only real thing that works other than spraying is good ol' elbow grease and turning the soil over to find the runners.
  • cover it up with something, black plastic, tarp, watertank, anything will do, and then leave it. It will be lovely worm castings in about 4 to 6 months. Takes a while but if you've got the time it  beats cutting turf.
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